football Edit

Spencer Petras ready to take the reins at Iowa

Spencer Petras is ready to take over as Iowa's starting quarterback in 2020.
Spencer Petras is ready to take over as Iowa's starting quarterback in 2020. (Associated Press)

At Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield, California, Mazi Moayed has coached several Division I quarterbacks, including Jared Goff and most recently Spencer Petras, who is poised to take over as Iowa’s starter in 2020. As Petras gets ready to take the reins, we caught up with Moayed to learn more about Petras and the skill set that allowed him to break all of Goff’s records in high school, plus much more.

Q: What stands out to you when you look back at Spencer’s high school career and what made him a standout at quarterback?

MOAYED: Oh, geez. That’s interesting you say that. Sometimes you have the current guys ask you to look at the older guys that played here, so you put film on of Spencer Petras or Jared Goff. When I put on Spencer’s film recently to show a couple of the younger guys, he’s a monster. I mean he’s a freak when you look at him. At the time, when you’re around him day to day, you sort of forget how big he is and how powerful of an arm he has.

Since you see it every day, it’s just the norm, but when you look back at it, you sort of chuckle and say, “Oh, my gosh.” That guy was bigger than most of the linemen out there and he’s throwing the ball 70 yards downfield or from the high school hash throwing a deep out and you just go, “Geez Louise.”

He was just a really explosive playmaker with his arm. That’s what I see when I look back at his film. Then just being around him, the guy has some stuff to him. He’s got some swagger. He commands attention and will jab you when you need it when you’re on the field with him. He’s an extremely confident guy and he’s always trying to go out there and make a play, so he’s a lot of fun to be around.

Q: How much have you stayed in touch with him since he’s been at Iowa and what have you heard?

MOAYED: We stay in touch. I’ve taken a couple visits out there myself just to check out the program and build a relationship with the coaches. They’re unbelievable out there, just fantastic. Their program is one of the closest, out of all the places I’ve been to, to a high school football atmosphere, at least as much as you can get in college football. It’s just really personable and the camaraderie and the bond and the brotherhood is for real. It was really neat when I went out there because it was really different from some of the other programs.

Just staying in touch with him, he loves it out there. He loves the football culture, which is tremendous there, and the coaching staff is awesome. They are no nonsense and he’s getting coached at a very high level by O’Keefe, Ferentz, and Brian Ferentz. He loves everything about it. He’s a great kid for their system. They run a pro-style, multiple set system and he’s coming along nicely in that. He was patient. He wasn’t one of those guys that said he has to play right away out of high school and that’s served him well. He’s played behind a really good role model in Nate Stanley, who was superb there with everything that he did and just how he treated Spencer. Then working with O’Keefe, his quarterback coach, he’s brought him along really well. He’s really excited about the upcoming season and I’m excited to watch him. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Q: What would you say makes him such a good fit for Iowa’s pro-style offense?

MOAYED: One, he’s got a big arm. They run the ball quite a bit and they’re a very effective running team historically and they’re committed to that. Having the big arm that he has can really help get the ball downfield or out wide versus a defense that’s trying to get an extra defender or two in the box. With play-action and his arm and touch, he can get the ball all over the field. There’s nothing really off limits for him. That’s one thing that I think will show up this year.

Then, he’s also a student of the game as well. In high school, everyone is playing in spread systems now, which is good or bad depending on where you’re going to go play college football. Some guys might not have the aptitude to adapt from a spread in high school and be comfortable learning a pro-style system in college and being successful at it. He’s one of the guys that has that ability from the neck up. He can absorb a lot and is a good field general and a really good communicator as well. Those parts are really helping him fit into their system. The big arm and just having the head to be able to understand what they’re doing over there because I think a lot of the stuff is on the quarterback when it comes to their offense. I think those things make him a great fit and then his passion for football and just the way the environment out there in Iowa and playing Big Ten football is pretty awesome.

The one other thing to add is his work ethic. He’s one of, if not the hardest workers to come through our program. Iowa is all about development and guys grinding and working hard, so that really fits him well.

A four-star prospect, Petras completed 199 of 313 pass attempts (63.8%) for 4,157 yards and 50 touchdowns with only two interceptions as a senior at Marin Catholic High School.

In his first two years at Iowa, Petras has appeared in five games, completing 6/11 passes for 25 yards.